Stage 1 Complete, Documentum Helps Developers


I’ve been meaning to talk about the new Documentum Developer Edition for a while now.  I’ve referred to it in previous posts and twittered about it.  More recently, Marko over at Big Men on Content has talked about the benefits of freely available ECM platforms for development and proof-of-concepts.  I thought some spare vacation time, and the release of the 6.5 sp2 version, was a perfect time to write-up my thoughts.

To start with, ABOUT TIME!!! Okay, that may be a little strong, but in the age of open source and when Microsoft and Oracle have been offering developer editions of their core products for years this was way overdue.  If you want the developer pool to grow, which is one of the major costs of a large-scale deployment, you need to allow them to use the tools.  There are lots of independent consultants out there that have trouble keeping-up with the technology because they can’t afford to become partners for the requisite fee.  The Developer Edition makes it easier on them (and harder on me, but that is another post) to deliver into the market.

What You Get from EMC

Well, to put it simply, you get what I call the core of Documentum.  You get the Content Server, Webtop, Administrator, and Composer.  The Content Server includes the XML Store.  All very critical.  This will let someone develop a Documentum application, complete with basic interface configurations and customizations.  That is just what people need.  All you need to do is install Java 5 with a web browser plug-in and you are set.

It even comes bundled with SQL Server 2005 Developer, so no database is required.  That being said, I would seriously recommend installing SQL Server Developer 2005 sp3 on your own so that you can place it on a separate box and have the latest service pack.  The Developer Edition of SQL Server does not readily upgrade to sp3.

The other reason for installing SQL Server separately is resources.  The complete Development install calls for 3GB of RAM (after a 1.7+GB download).  That is no small thing for a development laptop.  It needs to be on a newer machine.  If you can move the database service to a different box, that will make your life easier.

There is a unique service created in Windows called “Documentum Master Service”.  This is something I want to see in production systems.  It automatically stops all the services in the proper order.  Better yet, if you used the bundled SQL Server, which I just recommended against, it also stops and starts it as well.  Very cool for those Developers that just want Documentum to work and don’t care about the details.

You can’t really change any settings when as you install the system, so you aren’t going to gain experience on that front, but you do get a working Documentum system.  It took me about 30 minutes to install into my VM.  After that, I re-ran Windows update and I was done.  I could change many settings behind the scenes if I wanted since I know how, but what would be the point?  I just want it to work.

What You Need from EMC

Nothing is perfect, and what EMC has given us is no different than the rest of the world.  They have done a great job to get this out and it is a great Stage One.  It is simple and it works.  They could do a few more things to make life easier for those without real development labs…

  • Provide More Deployment Options: Let us decide if we want to install everything at one time.  Maybe to conserve resources I want to through Webtop and/or DA on another computer.  Maybe I don’t want to deploy Webtop as I won’t be changing the interface and can work through Administrator. Maybe give the option of deploying DA & Webtop in a standalone JBoss instead of within the Java Method Server.  Given the required resources, allowing users to spread the pain would be nice.  Naming the database would also be nice.
  • Support Upgrades: Did you catch how to upgrade from the 6.5sp1 version to 6.5sp2? Uninstall and reinstall. It needs to be a clean sweep.  Craig offers some tips on the process that are worth reading.  It can all be done, but you have to archive all your customizations and reinstall them. That makes sense logically, but if you miss something, it is gone.
  • Eliminate Directory Issues: Allow us to install from any directory.  When my installation package was in a directory with spaces in the name, if failed and I had to restart.  It was simple for me to resolve, but how hard would it be to make it a non-issue?
  • Simplify Password Hell: We can use default passwords or set our own. How about an option to use the same, custom, password for all settings so I don’t have to type the same password 6 times.  If you get more complex than “admin”, errors occur.  The interface does a good job at quickly validating the passwords, but I’d still like to limit my entries.
  • Provide Separate Composer Install: Make Composer separate.  It is a simple packaged install.  Don’t make me have to install it all just to get a copy of Composer installed as a developer.

18 thoughts on “Stage 1 Complete, Documentum Helps Developers

  1. Marko Sillanpää says:

    Thanks for the great review. One question I do have is CMIS supported in the developer download?

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    • I don’t think it is and I can’t check my installation at the moment. No worries though as CMIS is available through the controlled release and you could plug it into the system. DFS is included, which I didn’t mention, so everything you need to get going is there.

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  2. Walid Elgamal says:

    Thanks for the review, , I guess after Marko and you, I can go ahead and try it, I have been contemplating its usage for long time as I have access to the full thing @ work, you saved me the trouble of the attempt to install it on my laptop, It will go into my home server.

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  3. Nagu says:

    Thanks Pie..review is great..the developer edition is a boon for contractors…i see one more product called Documentum xDB..whats it really about

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  4. Jakub Gemrot says:

    Hello Pie!

    I’m trying to learn how to develop application utilizing DFS just to learn how the DFS works. I’ve successfuly installed the free developer edition and started my venture…

    Unfortunately I’ve run into a problem after my domain password has been changed. Since that, the Documentum Master Service can not be started because of the logon failure.

    I understand there a simple way to change dbpasswd.txt with dm_encrypt_password.exe but didn’t figure out how to change dbmspassword.txt (which even has different format).

    Unfortunatelly I cannot you dm_change_password.exe as my computer has some trouble connecting to domain controller (geeze, that’s strange I know, I can log into domain, but I can’t change the password…).

    So, my question is – is there a way how to change dbmspasswd.txt to contain my new password encrypted the way Documentum Master Service is able to decrypt correctly? (And did I guess correctly that dbmspasswd.txt contains encrypted password the Documentum Master Service is using?)

    Thanks in advance!

    Jakub

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    • You don’t need to change the dbpasswrd.txt file as that is the database password. You should just have to change the login for the Master Content Service, and the other services that were created. Just open the properties of the service, select the “Log On” tab, and update the password.

      As a rule, for local installations, local computer accounts are best.

      -Pie

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  5. Jakub Gemrot says:

    Ha, is it that simple? My fault, I went down the misleading road with the thought that credentials are somewhere inside Documentum installation.

    Thanks!

    JG

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  6. eve says:

    Hi, My name is eve. am from Thailand.
    And now i work about documentum 5.3 and 6.5
    I’am new in documentum and i wnat to know more knowleage about it. And i want to make new friend same job. Now i do workflow, webtop, desktop,LC and etc.

    Nice to see you

    Like

  7. JAK says:

    Hello Pie,

    You’ve mentioned that the content server includes the XML Store. But I don’t find it explicitly mentioned either in the Installation guide or EMC’s website.

    I installed the developer edition in my machine and imported an XML into the repository. When I looked at the ‘Storage Type’ of the imported XML, it shows ‘filestorage_01’ rather than ‘xml store’ or something similar. Am I missing something?

    90% of my content is XMLs and am looking to evaluate how useful XML Store might be as we are migrating from 5.3 to 6.5. Is XML Store part of the Content Server itself in 6.5 or do we need to buy a separate license (am sorry its not very clear to me from EMC website)?

    Thanks,
    JAK

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  8. Sergey says:

    Hi, my name is Seregy. I’m from Russia.
    I’m trying to install the DCTM 6.5 SP2 on my server, but I keep on running into problems. I re-installed a few times, but it always come down to the different errors. I tried to install on Microsof XP SP3 (russian localization) and on MS Server 2003 R2 (english version), but it was unsucssesful. In both cases Sun Java JRE 5.0 Update 16, SQL Server 2005 SP3 Stansart Edition was installed. Would you tell me please hardware and software configurations to correct installaton. Installation guide is very poor.
    Thanks,
    Sergey

    Like

    • Sergey, those values all seem fine from my perspective. I’ve never installed into XP sp3, but I have on XP sp2 and it worked. I’ve run pre 6.5sp2 on Java 5 build 12, so build 16 should be good.

      My suggestion is to either try the forums on Powerlink (powerlink.emc.com), which I think are open to everyone after you register, or failing that, try the Developer Network (https://community.emc.com/community/edn/documentum). Post your errors there and see what people come up with.

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